I’m well into my fifties. I have the privilege of having not one, but two little souls calling me Grandpa. Seems like not so long ago, I was looking at “old folks”, listening to their stories about how things were when they were my age. I remember thinking: “Times have evolved, and we’re better off for it.” Today, I can honestly sit back and say that I was wrong thinking that. And here I am telling younger generations how this so-called evolution really isn’t for the best, overall. It’s amazing how times change our perspective on the same topics or issues.
Oh sure, some things are better than before. The advance in medicine, in science, is miles ahead of what it was before. Yet, COVID-19 is the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu of… 1918! Hundreds of thousands have died from it worldwide. We were discussing that with my step-son and his girlfriend just recently. He was asking how they stopped that pandemic back then. While I wasn’t born, I explained that back in those days, right or wrong, there was a high level of respect for authority.
For example, priests were going house to house to tell families to have more children… and they did. Today, people do what they want and many chose not to have families. The result: Canada needs to open up their immigration hugely as the country needs the warm bodies to pay taxes in order to support the structure established, to help pay for healthcare, roads and other infrastructures… including politicians’ fat pensions.
Back to the pandemic, when people were told that they had to practice social distancing, they did it. Of course, it was way easier to do back then than it is today, as travelling was much harder to do. Many lived on farms and lived off of it. But also, there was no such thing as social media spreading false and contradictive information. For that reason, there were fewer conspiracy theorists back then, and certainly fewer means to spread their deadly views. They did what they had to do and it worked.
Running through the sprinklers. Chasing down the ice cream truck. Riding bikes with friends around the neighbourhood. Calling friends and meeting at the park to play softball or soccer. Swinging so high that the poles lifted up out of the ground. Playing “Tag” or “Kick the can”. Picking strawberries, blueberries and apples. Building a treehouse or a fort. Catching fireflies. Going fishing.
No internet. No cell phones. No social media. No video games. We headed home when the streetlights came on. If a kid was to be bullied, it had to be done in person, not on social media with hundreds of others joining in. If you liked a girl, you had to walk to her door to look awkward and drool, risk facing her parents after ringing the door bell. Not winking with an emoji on an electronic device. Those were the summers of my childhood. How lucky I was to have grown up before technology took over the world.
If you’re a teenager and read this, try it. If you have children, get them to try. Call a few friends to arrange a place to meet, somewhere to go to. Ask them to do the same as you, leaving the television, cell phone behind. Forget the distractions and have true, pure and genuine fun, focussing solely on your friends and the activity you’re doing… at 100%. Get some fresh air, do some physical activities.
Technology and science has its good sides, but I’m here to tell you that there is even more good in simplicity. One day, you will likely do like me and reflect on all of this and think… that old man was right.